Unit 5 Study Guide: Political Behavior

5a: Define political culture, political socialization, and political participation.

    • Define and explain the relationship among political culture, political socialization, and political participation.
    • How do these three levels build upon one another.
    • Name five agents of political socialization.
    • Name five different types of democratic participation.
    • Name some factors that cause people to become more or less involved in politics?

Political culture and political socialization refers to the diverse attitudes and traditions individual citizens have toward their political system. These attitudes will inform the type and level of involvement they will have with their political institutions, the expectations they have for achieving a just and fair system, and how well they are able to hold government officials accountable for their actions.

Review Political Culture and Socialization and Participation, Voting, and Social Movements from American Government and Politics in the Information Age.

5b: Compare and contrast political cultures in selected countries.

    • How do attitudes about civic participation, socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, age, and gender influence political culture.
    • How has a history of colonialism influenced the political culture in Nigeria?
    • How have local allegiances and feelings about nationalism influenced the ability of political parties to organize in Nigeria?

Our sense of national identity often provides a foundation for our attitude toward politics and how we should be allowed to participate in national government. Compare what you read above about politics in the United States with what Odoemelam and Aisien have to say about political attitudes in Nigeria.

Political parties in Nigeria complain that they have a difficult time mobilizing their citizens to identify with national institutions because they "show greater sentiments, allegiance and loyalty to their ethnic groups, families, kinsmen or religious affiliations, rather than the state (country)."

Review Participation, Voting, and Social Movements from American Government and Politics in the Information Age.

Review attitudes toward civic participation in Nigeria in Political Socialization and Nation Building: The Case of Nigeria by Uche Bright Odoemelam and Ebiuwa Aisien.

    • Describe the reluctance some members of the European Union have, in terms of the acceptance of new and different attitudes they believe could negatively impact their political culture, when considering whether to accept Turkey as a part of their political union. Do you believe these beliefs are unfounded or irrational?

Author Ali Rahigh-Aghsan writes that the citizens of Turkey, a country whose primary religion is Islam, have experienced difficulty fitting in with countries that are part of the European Union, which have been steeped in democratic political culture and secular Christian traditions. Note that many people disagree with the causes and remedies for these political differences.

Review Turkish Otherness and Accession (page 48–49), From Absorption Capacity to Integration Capacity (page 49–50), and Conclusion: Privileged Partnership as a New Pragmatic Synthesis of Realpolitik (page 50–51) of Turkey’s EU Quest and Political Cleavages under AKP.

5c: Compare and contrast political socialization in selected countries.

    • How have authoritarian governments in China, Russia, Egypt, and Cuba used political surveillance to promote feelings of political isolation, fear, and apathy among their citizens?
    • How are citizens using social media and the Internet to transcend these barriers, to create a new political culture?

Political scientist Emily Parker describes how authoritarian governments in China, Russia, Egypt, and Cuba use political surveillance methods among their citizens to promote a psychological barrier that fosters a sense of isolation, fear, and apathy toward their government. Political activists who want to change this form of political socialization are using social media and the Internet to communicate with others and mobilize protest. The sheer number of protesters makes it easier for individuals to overcome their fear of expressing opposition and highlight instances of government injustice. They hope to foster political change.

Review political socialization in authoritarian governments and the role social media is playing to change these attitudes in the video Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices from the Internet Underground.

Review how citizens in Iceland and Milton Keynes, in the United Kingdom, use the Internet, crowdsourcing, to increase youth political engagement and civic input into local government to enable open and responsive e-democracy practices in Understanding E-Democracy Government-Led Initiatives for Democratic Reform by Julie Freeman and Sharna Quirke.

5d: Describe and explain patterns of representation and participation in selected countries.

    • Define civil society and describe how civic participation can promote democratic institutions, influence change, and promote social movements.
    • Define interest group and list some examples of the types of interest groups.
    • Define non-governmental organization (NGO).
    • Why is having an independent media important to a civil society?
    • Name some elements civic societies need to promote an independent media.

Civil society requires open and robust political discussion and participation by all citizens. Teesta Setalvad, a political activist in India, states that it is extremely difficult to create a civil society that promotes reason, patience, compassion, and justice. It is much easier for politicians to foster revenge, retribution, violence, and hatred. Speaking out against political injustice in favor of civil society often requires great strength and courage.

Review definitions of civil society from world activists in Civil Society Is by Marc Bacani.

Review definitions and examples of interest groups in Interest Groups from American Government and Politics in the Information Age.

Review the video The State of Civil Society in South Africa from The South African Civil Society Information Service, which states that organizations that support civil society and civic participation—whether they focus on economic development or human welfare—exist to promote the common good and hold governments accountable.

Review what non-governmental organizations do to promote civic participation and community involvement in the article, The Widespread Challenges of NGOs in Developing Countries: Case Studies from Iran by Ali Akbar Bromideh. Examples include their work "to address human, political and women’s rights, economic development, democratization, inoculation and immunization, health care, or the environment."

Review how the government regulates the media in the United States in Regulation of the Media from Boundless Political Science. Review the elements required for an independent media in pages 7-10 of Developing Independent Media as an Institution of Accountable Governance by Shanthi Kalathil.

Review Teesta Setalvad's appeal to the media to cover government abuse and injustices fairly and accurately in Civil Society and Current Challenges to a United India from Coalition for One Nation.

    • List some different methods countries use to register, maintain, and update, their database of registered voters.
    • Describe advantages and disadvantages of these different voter registration methods, such as the practical and security aspects of maintaining a civil registry, ensuring voter turnout, and the risk of voter suppression.

A key component of participation in democratic government describes the ability individual citizens have to vote freely for a favored political candidate. In most communities, eligible members of the voting public must officially register to vote before they are allowed to participate. However, these processes vary, based on the electoral practices that are part of each country's political system.

Review how different countries collect and maintain voter registration in Expanding Democracy: Voter Registration Around the World from the Brennan Center for Justice.

5e: Compare and contrast the roles and functions of political parties in selected countries.

    • Define a political party.
    • Explain how party affiliation, issue politics, and a particular political candidate can influence how voters vote.
    • Define gerrymandering and describe how political parties in the United States use this process to hold onto political power.
    • Why is it difficult for new political candidates to beat a political incumbent? How do low political turnover rates affect voter turnout and political participation.
    • Define proportional representation.
    • Define coalition government.
    • How do minor parties use coalition governments to their advantage in parliament?
    • Name some advantages and disadvantages for civic participation and individual representation in a proportional parliamentary system.

Citizens often join forces with like-minded individuals to affect political change and make sure their views are represented when government decisions are made. In democratic systems political parties can provide an easy way for constituents to organize, based on their shared political beliefs and specific issues of concern, or to rally behind a preferred political candidate.

However, the strength or weakness of political parties depends on the society and the system itself. Once a political party has become entrenched in the government system, it can prove difficult for a group of concerned citizens, who feel the incumbent no longer represents their interests, to remove them from political office and effect a political turnover.

Review the political party system in the United States in How Voters Decide from Boundless Political Science. Review Democracy in America, Part 1: What's Wrong with Gerrymandering? by Stein Ringen.

Review proportional representation and coalition governments in Proportional Representation from Wikipedia.

5f: Compare and contrast the role of interest groups in selected countries.

    • Which systems allow for greater interest group engagement?
    • Explain the typical focus of interest groups politically.
    • Explain how you could describe a non-governmental organization (NGO) as an interest group.
    • In what ways is an NGO different from a typical home-grown interest group.
    • Explain how you might describe a social movement as the precursor to a future interest group.

Interest groups have varying levels of political power and decision-making authority within different political systems. Some are able to enjoy great power within their respective area of engagement, while others are not. Nevertheless, they can have an outsized impact on politics, and influence policy in many ways.

Review interest groups in the United States in Interest Groups from American Government and Politics in the Information Age and Naomi Klein on the People’s Climate March & the Global Grassroots Movement Fighting Fossil Fuels.

Review non-governmental organizations in The Widespread Challenges of NGOs in Developing Countries: Case Studies from Iran by Ali Akbar Bromideh.

Review social movements in 'There is no Map. Follow me': Grassroots Strategies for Creative Social Change by Rae Abileah.

Unit 5 Vocabulary

      • Civic duty
      • Civil society
      • Coalition government
      • Collective action
      • Demographics
      • Ethnicity
      • European Union
      • Free-rider problem
      • Independent media
      • Interest group
      • Issue politics
      • Minor party
      • Non-governmental organization (NGO)
      • Party affiliation
      • Party-line voting
      • Pluralism
      • Political candidate
      • Political culture
      • Political incumbent
      • Political participation
      • Political party
      • Political socialization
      • Political surveillance
      • Proportional representation
      • Social movement
      • Taxation
      • Turnover rate
      • Voter registration
Last modified: Wednesday, July 17, 2019, 7:03 PM